European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 201-208

First online:

The history of autism

  • Sula WolffAffiliated with

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Autism remains a fascinating condition, perhaps the most prolifically researched of all child psychiatric disorders. Its history yields many lessons: early accounts of possible autism are, with one exception, unclear; the greatest contributions to our understanding have come from individual clinicians and researchers; the concept and definition of the disorder have changed greatly over the years; some ideas once held with conviction, were later proved to be unfounded; and socio-political shifts as well as research findings have radically altered our understanding of the syndrome as well as the care and treatment offered to people with autism.

Key words

autism Asperger syndrome history